Art gallery offers free arts experience

The art gallery, Cultivate7Twelve, is conveniently located right next to the Waco Hippodrome. The current exhibition features top-tier local art from one of Baylor University's lecturers, Greg Lewallen. Kristen Dehaven | Multimedia Journalist

By Gaby Salazar | Copy Editor

Cultivate 7Twelve is giving students and Wacoans the opportunities to connect as a community with local bands and free snacks while appreciating top-tier local art.
Located on Austin Avenue, the art gallery first opened its doors back in December 2017 and has since become the home for various local artists and members of the community alike. Rebekah Hagman, the owner of Cultivate 7Twelve, said to expect powerful works of art coming soon.

Located on Austin Avenue, the art gallery is preparing for fundraising events, First Friday exhibitions, Restaurant Week, live music with food and a special exhibition featuring one of Baylor’s art lecturers, Greg Lewallen.

“There will be jungle-juice inspired beverages and insect-inspired sweet treats,” Hagman said.

The gallery showcases a different exhibition featuring a local artist every month. The newest exhibition by Lewallen is open to the public now until Sept. 5.
Lewallen has traveled all over South America, New Zealand, Peru and Africa collecting exotic beetles, moths, grasshoppers and butterflies.

“[He] finds inspiration in some of creation’s smallest creatures, believing their diversity and intricate details display some of God’s finest work,” according to his webpage.

“Lewallen Legends: Tales from the Jungle and Beyond, The Adventures of an Artist Collecting Entomological Wonders,” will be an open event from 6 – 7:30 p.m. Friday. Lewallen will speak about his adventures abroad, featuring a slideshow of pictures and videos from his travels.

“If we didn’t have this show, our students could potentially go through their entire career here and never see anything that we do,” Lewallen told the Lariat (2018).

The gallery will host its first Restaurant Week, where guests will have the opportunity to dine with the art at 7 p.m. Sept. 13. Restaurant Week is a citywide event that starts from Sept. 6 to 14. Local restaurants and food trucks donate 10% of their proceeds to Caritas, a nonprofit fighting to end hunger and poverty in the Waco community.

“This will be a great event for students to step off campus and come participate,” Hagman said.

The art gallery will treat the community to its monthly Jazz Jam from 7 to 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Music will be performed by the Central Texas Jazz society, but guests are welcome to participate with the band. Musicians must bring their own instrument, but in addition to Jazz Jam being free and open to the public, guests are free to check out the gallery or just hang out and listen.

Hagman also lets people rent out the gallery for event space in either the spacious upstairs studio, back patio or the main gallery room. Maria Duaine, a student at McLennan Community College and a self-proclaimed regular at Cultivate 7Twelve said the back patio is perfect for open mics, small concerts or even casual events.
“Cultivate is an amazing place where you can check out all the local art. I feel like the building is a great place to host special events or meetings,” Duaine said.

The studio upstairs is where the artists-in-residence can create their art in rented out workspaces. Students can also earn scholarships and grants for residency in the studio with the help of Creative Waco. Its fund, Arts Match Program, provides grants to artists who want to help grow the community as a vibrant cultural hub.

Nonprofit arts organizations are encouraged to apply, and Creative Waco can help applicants find partnerships. There are anywhere from 8 to 12 artists in residence at a time.

“We also allow artists to rent studio space on a first-come, first-served basis for $3 per square foot,” Hagman said.

On Sept. 6, a First Friday exhibition called “Wild Fire: Women of Strength, A Celebration of the Female Form” will take place in the gallery. Hagman said the show will focus on the female face and form. This event is also open to free and open to the public.

Participating in these events is just one of the ways to support and ensure that Cultivate 7Twelve can continue to provide art and culture to the residents of Waco. For those who want to invest in the growth of the arts, the gallery offers memberships starting at $7.12 a month. This includes discounts on prints and space when you rent.

“For the price of a cup of coffee and a muffin, they can ensure that Cultivate is around for a long time,” Hagman said.

Cultivate 7Twelve relies on the community for support and their fundraising efforts are what keep most events free for everyone.

“The residents are the cultural expression of the city,” Hagman said.